by Julia Kent
Publication: January 28, 2020
Series: Do-Over #3
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I’m not too proud to admit that finding Mr. Right involves swiping right. Right? Welcome to dating in avocado toastland.
Here I am, on my first blind date, ever, courtesy of a smartphone app and my two annoying best friends.
So what is Chris “Fletch” Fletcher doing, walking across the room, looking at his phone like he’s pattern matching a picture to find a real person he’s never met before?
The guy I drop-kicked in seventh grade cannot be my blind date. The guy who earned me this infernal nickname.
More from New York Times bestselling author Julia Kent as Fiona “Feisty” Gaskill gets her chance at love – drop-kick included.
The Do-Over Series is complete!
My lungs have decided that the world is too dangerous to make a move, utter a sound, do anything. I’m frozen, the pulse inside me growing stronger as time ticks away. My own shut-down system is the barrier to oxygen. The disconnect between what my body needs and what my tattered psyche can handle is causing my overload to leak out in a really obvious way.
“Fiona?” Josh says, shaking me gently, Michelle looking to him for certainty.
And then suddenly, Josh is out of my sight, replaced by two clear, calm, green eyes, light brown hair, and hands that feel like anchors.
“Feisty? Feis–Fiona?” Fletch corrects. The sudden pivot to using my proper name is jarring, given the fact that every atom in the world is buzzing inside my ears and nothing anyone does will help me to breathe.
I make a strange sound. I know it’s strange because his eyebrows turn down in the middle, his facial muscles pushing them low enough to show concern.
Concern for me.
“Breathe,” he says slowly as he puts one hand on my diaphragm, fingers warm and firm.
I make a sound to indicate that I am confused and the speech centers in my brain have shut down. Empathy floods me as I realize this is exactly what my student with severe apraxia, little Myles, must feel like when he loses his words under extreme stress. For years, I’ve said “use your words” to four-year-olds having anxiety fits.
“Breathe, Fiona,” he murmurs, taking a deep breath to demonstrate, his belly expanding in a comical way, though I know his technique is strong. Hypnotic and commanding, his voice and body tell me what to do, guide me back from being lost in the woods to a cleared trail where I can find my footing, take a rest, and possibly feel safe again, knowing I can find my way home.
I inhale, the insides of my nostrils cold, the air hitting my nasal passages a welcome assault, diaphragm spasming and sputtering back to life.
“That’s my girl,” he whispers against the curl of my ear, his breath like coffee, his hard forearm muscles all I can see, the ripped cord of his strong lines drawing my gaze. “You just breathe. It’s over now. You did it. You saved them. It’s okay to breathe.” He inhales, then slowly exhales. “Let’s do this together now.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. Since 2013, she has sold more than 2 million books, with 4 New York Times bestsellers and more than 19 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into French and German, with more titles releasing in 2020 and beyond.
From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire she met in a romantic comedy).
She lives in New England with her husband and three children where she is the only person in the household with the gene required to change empty toilet paper rolls.
**I was provided a copy of the book by Give Me Books as part of the promotional campaign. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**
The description doesn’t do the book justice with the exception that yes, there’s a dating app, and yes, Fletch shows up during Fiona’s blind date. The description focuses on a single moment and the use of the app itself isn’t pivotal to the story. The description has the potential to lead readers astray, like it did to me. I expected dating and the app to be a more significant part of the book and I was wrong. While the focus is on Fiona and Fletch, here’s what happens…
A situation at Fiona’s workplace leads to the need for emergency responders. One of the individuals to arrive at the scene is Fletch, who immediately comes to her aid. After the situation at Fiona’s workplace, they keep bumping into each other. She’s never been fond of Fletch because an incident in the past has characterized their entire relationship–she dropkicked him and he gave her a nickname she still despises–but now different feelings are also starting to form. As she’s trying to reconcile her feelings over Fletch and trying to find peace within herself, she’s also busy being part of her best friend’s wedding party and trying to date (hence the whole book description). There’s a few other things too but they’re all secondary to the feelings and the finding peace.
I was conflicted about the first half of the book because I wasn’t sure if it was a romantic comedy or not. What happens in the beginning is some heavy material, which was unexpected, and then there are a few funny things thrown here and there. It isn’t until about halfway in the book where it establishes that it is definitely a rom com and redeems itself for being unsure of what road it wanted to take me. I would have been okay either way just as long as it had been clearer.
Fiona and Fletch had chemistry, which is why I ended up giving the book 3 stars. While Fiona was indecisive and still figuring things out, Fletch was this somewhat smitten guy who kept trying to straighten out Fiona’s mixed signals. It’s not that she was being childish and couldn’t decide, it was her still trying to figure out who she was so she could better understand where he might fit into her life and if she even wanted him in it. Some of her findings resonated with me as well. Their bantering was enjoyable. Feisty is a good read if you’re looking for a couple that has good chemistry. Fletch has the potential to be a good choice for a book boyfriend (#fletchisacatch).